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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Friday, 9 July 2004, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Your comments

Your comments on the A failure of intelligence? programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.

Is it a good thing to get rid of someone evil ? Yes. Was is a good thing to get rid of Saddam? Probably, but I suspect that this depends on the historical perspective one is willing to consider. It seems that more and more the only justification for the war is that we got rid of an evil dictator, so even if the intelligence was flawed, we did the world a favour. Government ministers should be not be allowed to use that argument again...it's an insult to people's "intelligence".
Lazaro Kruger, London

As someone who has lived under the dictatorship of Saddam - I can tell you the man was a threat to world peace and did use WMDs. Your programme seems to make Tony Blair out to be a bad man-he most certainly is not. I and many others are grateful to Tony Blair.
G Mahel, London

I sincerely hope that the growth of investigative journalism like this makes the politicians of the future consider their actions more closely, and by being more accountable will thus act more honestly. Every organisation benefits from an auditor.
Andrew, Leighton Buzzard, UK

What this programme has undoubtedly revealed it is that, we, the British public can no, longer rely on the government to take decisions of such magnitude as going to war, on our behalf. Men and women of our own forces have been sent to their deaths on the basis of what is at best, fragile information. This is something which must never be at the discretion of so few people.
Paul Charlton-Thomson, Bath, Somerset

Interesting programme depending on which side of the fence you are. I would really like to be able to trust someone out there to tell the truth. I really hope this time the BBC has got its facts right.
Adele Walsh, UK

If your facts are correct. I believe they are, The BBC is vindicated. Blair should call an election now.
Edward Lycett Green, UK

Bravo BBC. After receiving near mortal blows, post Hutton, you refuse to lie down and lick your wounds. I almost stood up and cheered as the credits rolled. In recent months I have felt like a helpless, horrified onlooker as a brutal gang struck a defenceless old man to the ground. Now the old man is standing on his feet again and striking back. The full truth behind our dreadful misadventure in Iraq may never be revealed, but thank God you have not given up searching for it.
Brian Eagleson, Glassford, Scotland

The government never told me that Saddam's Iraq had WMD which could be used to attack the British Isles. Britain has other interests. Nor was I told of any specific delivery system for weapons. There are, though, some things of which I am aware: Halabja happened. Iraqi experts would have retained the knowledge of how the Halabja attack was carried out. If agents used in WMDs were available in such things as artillery shells, then it seems likely that they could be made ready in less than an hour. An artillery shell containing Sarin gas was discovered in Iraq recently (are there any experts who can tell us it was the only one in existence?). Iraq had developed a missile which could and did hit Israel. Saddam's Iraq had been prepared to attack neighbouring states. Ultimately, if there was the threat of, say, a "dirty bomb" being used against somewhere in that region, what should governments do? Perhaps now we know that the most politically expedient thing to do is wait for the bang.
Chris Hancox, Stourbridge, West Mids UK

This, as with many of your programmes, is exactly what I pay my television licence for, to give voice to those who would otherwise be struck dumb by the bullies of our world. We need to be aware of all the information to enable us to make sound judgements particularly in matters which effect the lives of our fellow human beings, thank you and I await the publication of this report with concern for its consequences.
Julia Watts, Marlow, Bucks UK

Western politicians seem on the verge of losing their "immunity" from investigation. And not just the 30-year rule, I mean being challenged in rapid and timely manner like this programme does. It's got to be a good thing - and if you've nothing to hide, why fear the auditor?
Peter Holten, Milton Keynes, UK

After the risible coverage of the Hutton Report one wondered if the 'Panorama' team could sink any lower, but tonight they did - full fathom five. Pathetic 'reconstructions' of Cabinet meetings etc. employing actors from the 'Avengers' school of melodrama were interwoven with, gad, interviews with 'real' people (albeit with anti-government axes to grind). However, these were 'sexed-up' by darkened rooms and "vee have vays of making you talk" lighting, with your would-be omniscient reporter John Ware peering thin-lipped over his horn rims at his co-conspirators.

Elsewhere, a worms-eye view of the railings and the approach to the door of No.10 was matched by a birds-eye view of a 'staged' Cabinet meeting (everyone around the table dumb-struck, with chins in hands etc.) all to the throb of 'Psycho' style background music. Your talents for sexing-up should auger well for a future in soft-porn film-making. P.S. Instead of quoting a un-named "reliable source" to back up your anti-government agenda, why did you not interview your Chief Foreign Reporter, John Simpson, who stated on Washington C-Span TV that he had heard the WMD had been moved from Iraq to Syria? Perhaps that would queer your 'pitch'. M. Clayton
M Clayton, Paisley, Renfrewshire

After watching Panorama I find it incredible with the lack of conclusive evidence on Weapons of Mass Destruction that Tony Blair and President Bush didn't give Hans Blix the extra time he needed to finish his search for WMD. With the strong opposition on both sides of the pond to war with Iraq did both President Bush and Tony Blair forget Democracy and majority rules is Government by the people, exercised either directly or through our elected representatives - certainly the views of the majority of the people in the UK were not listened to when we went to war.
John Baxter, Scotland

Did anybody believe that Iraq was a real threat to the UK? Or was it more likely that it would make us a terrorist target. Since the war terrorist attacks have increased. Iraq may be better off after the war, but only if it is allowed to develop in its own way and not become Americanised. Is there any chance of that? Surely the real reason for the war was to mould Iraq in ways favoured by America.
Don Picken, Stafford UK

"A failure of intelligence". Thanks for this excellent programme and the interesting footage. Most daring and important journalism which reveals information which many people dared to think but nobody dared to speak out. I hope the BBC stays intact as is. You are the watchdogs of the nation. Great.
Rudolf Sinkovics, UK

Your documentary has brilliantly exposed the incompetence of intelligence chiefs in the run up to the war in Iraq. Under the British constitution we have a doctrine of ministerial responsibility. The minister responsible for the intelligence services is the Prime Minister. If they have gone badly wrong then he should take the blame. He should resign.
nick Sanford, Peterborough England

Very interesting and thought provoking documentary, which raises serious questions on who our Intelligence committee really listens to. However, the reality is - could we really forgive the government and intelligence committee if something catastrophic really happened and because the evidence was sketchy and inconclusive, we chose to ignore it. Does it bear thinking about?
Liam Pearson, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Congratulations and thanks to John Ware and the Panorama team for obtaining the devastating testimony from the former intelligence officials - and thanks to those fine public servants for speaking out. Now it's up to us, the public, to do our bit by refusing to be taken in another time by Tony Blair and his spinners of fairy tales.
Geoff, Blackheath, London, SE3

Tonight's programme showed that the BBC has held is nerve and is prepared to criticise the Prime Minister and his appalling handling of the pre-war intelligence, and I applaud your producers for an excellent example of how journalists can still call the Government to account.
Simon Braithwaite, Buckingham UK

Thank you for a programme really trying to get at the truth of the affair. The conclusions are inescapable: Scarlett should not lead MI6 and Blair should not be the prime minister.
Dr Geoff Lee, Chichester UK

The BBC continues to punish Tony Blair with attempts to destroy him through programmes like this. But then most of the population are so naive about this threat and Saddam's collusion with terrorists. Maybe you would all feel differently if your friends or relatives had been beheaded on 9/11. How dare the BBC put together this 'piece of drama' with information out of context, it is beyond discussing. When will you all wake up to the threat or you may never know simply because so much of the threat has been eradicated because of Tony Blair's courage to take his stance on Iraq. The BBC makes me sick.
Maggie Casey, London

I'm a giant fan of the BBC and was most dismayed by the way it's reputation was dented by overlooking the actions of Gilligan. Now another 'limelight seeker' has gone down the same road. Tonight's programme was full of so many leading/ closed questions as to be almost laughable and undermine any journalistic value. OK so you want to link Tony Blair with the failure of intelligence prior to publication of the Butler report. Was this the best approach? Was this the worst possible approach? Admittedly I'm also a big fan of Mr Blair, albeit disappointed by recent apparent revelations. However what the BBC is and what it represents will still be needed and hopefully be around long after Mr Blair. Your stewardship is lacking, sadly lacking.
Robin Ward, Scotland

Surely the point of the programme was that it was a result of its own investigation, and is entirely separate from the Butler report. And there is no reason the believe that it is should be an inferior finding than whatever Butler reports. And if one of the viewers finds the idea of pre-emptive journalism a worry, what about pre-emptive war?
Agatha Jones,

This was a magnificent programme which treated the issues very fairly I thought. I was outraged to hear that acknowledged experts could be excluded in the way outlined. It is rather a sad state of affairs when investigative journalists have to do the jobs that our elected representatives are supposed to be doing but refuse or are unable to do. Programmes like this are absolutely essential in the absence of any effective parliamentary scrutiny.
djm, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs

This evening's programme on dodgy intelligence was excellent. There can be no doubt that Scarlett should not continue in his current career. I think there a strong case for questioning whether the PMs position remains tenable. Well done!
Dave Harmon, UK

The report showing Mr. Blair and Mr. Putin was very revealing. A former head of the KGB, Mr. Putin might be expected to have pretty valuable information about Iraq's threat (after all, Moscow is closer to Baghdad than London or Washington). Instead, Mr. Putin's categoric denial of any credible proof that Saddam had WMD seemed like a slap in the face of Mr. Blair. The British prime minister put on a brave face, but his Russian host's wry smile was very telling.
Lazaro Kruger, London

I hope I am not the only one feeling an overwhelming sense of deja-vu, however. Just as your excellent and factual programme just prior to Hutton was followed by the most extraordinary and absurd finding, so we must expect nothing more from Butler. Someone; maybe a department or two; will be found responsible for the 'intelligence failures', and one thing is absolutely sure - once again, it won't be those responsible!
Pige, Jersey, UK

Why were the interviewees not contravening the official secrets act? What action could be taken against them? What protection do they have?
Shirley Rubinstein, London, UK

I think this was a brilliant documentary exposing the mess that results when politics tries to get involved in intelligence. Blair cant blame them though - he promoted that guy responsible to be the new chief.
Tim Rance, London

Congratulations. We were very pleased and relieved to see that the BBC had the courage to broadcast this programme after all that has happened recently. Please keep up your independence.
Trish Evans, England

Despite the best efforts of Dr. Brian Jones now, I feel that had he spoken out at the time, the UK would not have been able to support Mr. Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq.
Mark Webb, Dublin

Well what a load of idiots we looked in the eyes of other intelligence agencies, the Russians probably could not believe we are that stupid. But it inevitably looks that way, And of course the countless children we killed because of lies
Alan Bonhomme, Birmingham

Firstly this programme shows what a farce the Hutton enquiry was. Secondly, after such evidence that we went to war on false reasons, how can this government still be in power? It's funny how the head of the BBC had to resign after the Hutton inquiry but Tony Blair is still leading this country after being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
Adonis Stevenson, Twickenham, England

An interesting but tendentious programme. One question I would have liked to have asked the previous DIS staff is how they explain Dr David Kelly's well attested opinion that Saddam was a threat, and that military action to remove him was not only desirable but essential (as reported to the Hutton Inquiry). Dr Jones may have been the country's primary expert on CBW, but Kelly was claimed to be an international expert on CBW as related to Iraq.

A similar programme on Hutton was broadcast just before the publication of that report, and now we have a similar pre-emptive strike in advance of Lord Butler's report. I do wonder why Panorama cannot wait until these reports are published before making public their own much less well sourced conclusions.
Jim Brant, Daventry UK

Please keep up the good work. A programme that just stated simple facts and timelines. I believe you will have to continue to repeat the facts as the PM and parts of the JIC will undoubtedly will try and ignore them. It is vitally important that our representatives are called to account for their actions and you seem to be the only ones capable of doing it at the moment. No more BBC resignations please.
Andy Fulton-Robb, Lichfield, Staffordshire

Thank you for your work. Please continue to ask the difficult questions. As a life long Labour supporter it gives me no pleasure to see the Government's case for was in Iraq pulled to pieces but freedom relies on truth and I hope the BBC will continue to search for the truth.
Keith Strachan, Lancaster, UK

Congratulations on tonight's edition. Doesn't all this vindicate the stance taken re. Andrew Gilligan and how has the government, not to mention Hutton, managed to get away with all this. It is baffling.
Penny Simpson, UK

You did not say what any Arab can tell you, that Saddam Hussein was rather an enemy of al-Qaeda. The failure in the intelligence process that you so admirably described this evening brings shame on Whitehall.
Michael Hall, London

In our democracy we choose who will govern us not the media. It seems the BBC can't accept that. First they get a bloody nose from the government for sloppy journalism and now they are carrying out a drip drip vendetta campaign against the Blair government. Maybe Blair got it wrong on WMD but for those of us who know persecuted Iraqis he got it right on the removal of Saddam Hussein. Perhaps the BBC should move on because the bulk of the British population have.
Andy, London

Excellent documentary. But why was it not made before Blair invaded Iraq or before Andrew Gilligan became the fall-guy for your discredited organisation?
Sean McGibbon, Belfast, Ireland

Interesting, well researched programme; but I feel it misses a vital point (perhaps for another programme?) How is it that our advanced, democratic government, held up as an example across the world, still allows a select few to take us to war on a package of lies? Where are the checks and controls, the protection for whistle-blowers, that we supposedly have to prevent this kind of situation.
Rowan Fothergill, Birmingham, UK

Does the BBC still not comprehend that viewers do not pay the licence fee in order to fund dubious, unverifiable fictions masquerading as serious documentaries? As in the previous example of the fictionalised account of the Hutton Report which was broadcast prior to publication, if the BBC waited to hear what the Butler Report actually contains it might appear marginally less contemptible and politically motivated.
Simon Watney, London, U.K.

When you look for evidence which supports your view you tend to find it. This is what Blair, Bush and their advisors did. They reinforced each others' view of the world and built a picture of an Iraqi threat which was out of step with the information they were being given by their respective intelligence advisers. They then used this to scaremonger support for a war which was both illegal and unjustifiable. That the behaviour of both sides since has been so anti-democratic and against the Rule of Law simply makes and appalling period of our history even worse.
Jason Good, High Peak, UK

Iraq's W.M.D. An Assessment of the British Government ? ! ?
UIrich Held, Italy

If Herman is quoted correctly he is being very ingenuous. Ardennes was a failure underestimating enemy strength, leading to a disaster. Hardly what we'd want in the case of WMD, such as nuclear weapons.
John Harley,

What is the point of a programme based on speculation about a report that is due to be published in a few days time. Panorama would have more credibility if it reported on the facts - i.e. what is actually contained in the report - rather than some reporter's personal view of what might be said.

Why wasn't this programme scheduled for next week, when the report will be in the public domain. I'm really not at all sure how this sort of pre-emptive journalism is supposed to inspire confidence in the standards of BBC reporting. It does however reinforce the view that BBC reporters are more interested in spouting their own view of the world, rather than giving us the facts and letting us make up our own minds.
Steve Coxon, UK

A failure of intelligence
29 Jun 04 |  Panorama
MI6 'retracted' Iraq intelligence
11 Jul 04 |  UK Politics
What will Lord Butler say?
11 Jul 04 |  Panorama

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